Checking holiday entitlement

Bank holidays and Christmas

Your employer does not have to give you time off on a bank holiday or at Christmas if they’re not included in your holiday entitlement. This is the same whether you work full time or part time.

Your employer can also make you take your holiday on bank holidays or at Christmas. For example, the business might shut for these days.

Remember bank holidays might be included in your paid holiday entitlement – you can check in your contract's written document.

See which days are bank holidays on GOV.UK.

It’s a good idea to arrange your holiday dates with your employer as early as possible.

If your employer changes when they open or close

Your employer has the right to make changes to when you take holiday if they need to.

For example, they can decide to shut over Christmas and force their employees to take their paid holiday, even if in previous years the business was open over Christmas.

If your employer needs you to take holiday, they should tell you at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need you to take.

For example, if they need you to take 2 days of holiday, they should tell you at least 4 days before.

Before making a change to the way staff take holidays, your employer might need to consider whether there has been custom and practice.

If your employer is making significant, long-term changes, for example to the amount of holiday days or pay they give, they must follow the process for changing a contract.

If you do not want to take a bank holiday

If a bank holiday falls on one of your normal working days and you do not want to take the day off, you could ask your employer if you can work the bank holiday and take another day off instead.

This is taking a day’s holiday 'in lieu'. Your employer does not have to agree to this.

You can only get paid in lieu of bank holidays if they’re part of untaken holiday entitlement when you leave your job.

If you work on a bank holiday, you must still get your full 5.6 weeks (pro rata if you’re part time) of statutory annual leave as paid time off.

Bank holidays while on sick or maternity leave

If they're included in your holiday entitlement, you still build up paid days off for bank holidays while on:

  • sick leave
  • maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave

Find out more about sick pay and holiday pay.